Stories published in November, 2017

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Comedy: Creating ripples by reviving improv comedy that Pakistan so desperately needed

Jennifer Hunter, while giving a TED talk at the Lake Superior State University two years ago, claimed that “improv comedy will change the world”. It is debatable whether the world has changed; nonetheless, improvised comedy has indeed altered the ambit of stage comedy. By following their intuition and not their conscious reasoning, improv comedians perform without any preparation whatsoever. Instead, they intuitively respond to the stimulus of their immediate environment – they listen to their audience, make a connection and just improvise. This form of comedy, while certainly very difficult, is perhaps a truer version of the genre itself. On ...

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PSL 3: Was Azam Khan selected for Quetta Gladiators based on merit or because he is Moin Khan’s son?

We all have dreams, but only a few of us go against the odds to accomplish those dreams. Playing for the national cricket team is a dream for millions of kids on the streets of Pakistan, and a few brave souls ultimately set themselves on the long, rough journey to get selected for Pakistan’s domestic cricket team. For years, they work hard and follow their passion blindly, hoping that their performance will be good enough to attract even a glimpse of the selector’s dodgy eyes. The dream of these young, talented individuals is impaired, bruised and torn apart, however, when ...

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The Islamabad sit-in is a reminder to Pakistan that you reap what you sow

For the past two weeks, hundreds of right-wing Islamists belonging to various religious parties have been protesting in Islamabad, which has disrupted the capital’s life. The protesters have been demanding the resignation of the federal law minister over a recently omitted reference to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in a constitutional bill. While the law minister has apologised by terming the constitutional amendment a “clerical mistake”, the protesters continue to insist that they will carry on the protest unless the minister resigns. Last week, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered the federal government to ensure that the protesters leave the capital within a day. However, the protesters have not moved an ...

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Announcing a bounty for beheading Deepika Padukone proves that India is not as ‘democratic’, ‘liberal’ and ‘tolerant’ as it claims to be

The ideology of the Taliban is in an expansionist mode –  it is no longer confined to Afghanistan and Pakistan, but has started capturing territory in India as well. And it is being ably assisted by none other than the ruling party in Delhi. How else can you explain the announcement of head money for the director and the lead actress of the upcoming movie, Padmavati, by a senior member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)? How else will you explain the open endorsement by some members of the BJP for the fringe militant caste group, Shri Rajput Karni Sena, which has threatened to create ...

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Did Disney just ruin our childhood with its adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time?

If you read Madeleine L’Engle’s fantasy novel A Wrinkle in Time as a child (or even as an adult for that matter), then chances are that your mind’s eye probably didn’t conjure up an image of Oprah Winfrey in a blonde wig whenever the character of Mrs Which appeared in the story.  And if you were to come up with a fantasy casting for a movie adaptation of the 1962 classic, then once again, blonde Winfrey probably wouldn’t have been the first person you pictured in that role. Photo: IMDb But that somehow is exactly what we’re getting in the ...

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Celebrating the Queen’s platinum anniversary with delicious and easy traditional English scones

Since it was Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s 70th wedding anniversary two days ago, a friend (read royal family enthusiast) asked me why not serve up something traditionally British! Clotted cream with scones, frilly raspberry tarts, lashings of lemonade are all the things that come to mind when I reminisce about Enid Blyton’s world of afternoon tea, picnic lunches and midnight feasts. Moonface and Silky the elf are familiar names to those of us who grew up on a staple of her books – The Famous Five, The Wishing Chair, Malory Tower, to name a few. The British ritual of afternoon tea ...

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Islam has and always will be a religion of women

To Muslim women, Islam is a religion of women. I will speak these words until my heart stops. Islam is a religion of women. Our Prophet (PBUH), who was delivered the revelation, was a man, but his first and truest disciple was his wife. She was a woman of stature, endurance, patience and poise. And to reiterate what has already been said, she was a woman. With female hands was the first iftar made. We would have no Adam, John, Jesus, Joseph, Idris, Aaron, Moses or Abraham without Eve, Elizabeth, Mary, Rachel, Barkanah, Jochebed, and Amathlaah. Even in the Prophet’s (PBUH) family, although it was Hazrat Ali (RA) ...

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The Iraq intervention ensued and we said “never again” – yet here we are, silent, when it comes to intervention in Myanmar and Yemen

“The world has abandoned us,” was the message that was sent loud and clear last year to the global community from the victims of Aleppo, Syria. There were clear reports of chemical attacks against inhabitants, including children, perpetrated by the Syrian regime. Yet, the international community watched helplessly as rebel-held parts of Aleppo, the largest town in Syria, descended into a humanitarian catastrophe. While the crisis received reasonable coverage in international media, it failed to mobilise large-scale demonstrations in western capital cities. There were more people gathered in front of the French Embassy to mock the burkini ban than there were to ...

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Was Italy’s apocalypse a by-product of Gian PieroVentura’s bizarre and faulty tactics?

Italy as a country is not too dissimilar to us, especially if you consider the misfortunes that have befallen this particular European nation in recent times. A corrupt head of state governing a highly unstable democracy, natural disasters and general economic woes are just some of the many elements that make us Pakistanis relate to an ordinary Italian’s life, on a somewhat deeper basis. But there is one other similarity between the two countries that is pertinent to mention here – the die-hard love for one particular sport. Football to Italy is exactly what cricket is to us. If we are ...

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Verna: A story powerful and lucrative on paper but fails at its execution on screen

Rape is a serious issue that is prevalent in the society. Even talking about rape openly takes a lot of courage, let alone making a movie about it. Shoaib Mansoor is known for making thought-provoking movies on social issues that turn out to be a cinematic delight. His previous movies have been pieces of art for movie-lovers and film students. Verna is his third and recent instalment, so expectations obviously had to be soaring high. His previous movies starred big names like Shaan Shahid, Fawad Khan, Naseeruddin Shah, Imaan Ali, Atif Aslam and Humaima Malick. However, this time, Mansoor does not ...

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